Praying After...

July 15, 2017

Have you ever wondered why God allowed Daniel to be thrown into the lion’s den?

 

This is a natural question for any believer who can relate to Daniel’s experience. However, upon closer investigation, one may find that this question is self-interested. Rarely does one raise the question: How can God receive glory by Daniel being thrown into the lion’s den? Indeed, “Why me?” flows easier off the lips than “For Your glory, I will do anything!”

 

At times, God permits His children to experience seasons of severe testing. While going through, the reasons for these seasons may not readily appear. God will often interact with those permitted to endure such tests in stealth and silence. Yet, the silence of God is never meant to be a deterrent of faith. Rather, it is purposed to draw us closer to God in deeper faith and more intimate trust. For, it is during the times when God seems silent, that our hearts receive needed tuning to hear His voice when He finally speaks.

 

My friend, God holds the leash around every lion’s neck. They cannot proceed further than the boundaries He has set. This is not to suggest that God is the primary inspiration behind the plans of the lions. While God does permit limited activity of the enemy in believer’s lives, He does not co-author these activities. Rather, He permits lions to growl, roar, and even pounce, so He can show that all things work together for the good of them who love the Lord and are the called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28).

 

For reasons known only by God, God lengthened the leash in Daniel’s case, allowing the lions expanded roam and extended roar. In the face of this reality, Daniel did not retreat or react. He approached the line of scrimmage and responded with what he had practiced. Daniel prayed. This is at one and the same time an elementary and advanced response. For, while we are not surprised by the fact that Daniel prayed three times a day, we may be somewhat amazed by the timing of Daniel’s prayer.

 

A decree had just been passed, codifying the direction of individual and communal prayer toward the seat of Darius, king of the Medes and Persians. The penalty for non-compliance was death by lions. If Daniel prayed that day before hearing about or reading the news, then his actions would be understandable. But, Scripture pronounces the facts explicitly. It was after Daniel heard of the decree that he went home and sought the hand of the Lord (Daniel 6:10). 

 

I imagine it was hard for Daniel to pray after the decree had been passed. For us, it is hard to pray after the diagnosis has been given. It is hard to pray after the house has been lost. It is hard to pray after the marriage has failed. It is hard to pray after the bankruptcy hearing. It is hard to pray after the car accident. It is hard to pray after ______________. 

 

Daniel’s timing teaches a valuable lesson. The practice of prayer is developed before the lions come. The power of God is often experienced after the lions come. Daniel was in prime position to experience the power because he was committed to the practice. 

 

Today, whatever your test, I hope that you remain committed to the practice of prayer and connected to the power of God.

 

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Richard D. Martin 2020